In consideration of the fact that the vast majority of commercial ice machines are of the self-contained air cooled variety, it is important to recognize that there are certain parameters that will affect the production and reliability of this equipment much more dramatically than water cooled or remote air versions.
The artificial creation of cold is, in the simplest terms, the process of eliminating heat. With self-contained air cooled commercial ice machines, once the heat has been removed from the water to make ice, it is absorbed by the refrigerant gas. The cooling of the hot gas is then achieved by blowing or sucking cooler air through the condenser, a component not unlike the radiator of a car that contains the tubing which circulates the gas through the ice machine.
The air movement is created by use of a pretty normal looking fan, and the pattern of air flow may vary depending on the make & model, but generally it is sucked in through one of the four panels-front, back, right, left, and exhausted out one of the other panels. And herein lies the gist of the matter. Improper air temperature or circulation can and will cause drastic decreases in ice production. This is a chronic occurrence when the equipment is installed in too tight a space, (see manufacturer’s recommendations) both restricting ventilation and increasing ambient temperature.
The key is providing several inches of open space between the intake and exhaust louvers of the machine, and keep in mind that closets and alcoves are some of the worst possible locations. However, there are other determining factors besides proper ventilation. A dirty condenser which inhibits or prevents air from flowing through will absolutely impact the ability of the ice machine to produce ice. This is especially noticeable in kitchens where there is a lot of grease build up or where flour is a major food component.
Also, excessive air temperatures will prevent air cooled ice machines from working properly as well, no matter how much ventilation there is or how clean the condenser is. So, if you have a situation where the ice machine is in an area without air conditioning or even outdoors, in very high heat it just won’t make enough ice.
At Icesurance, we will help you select the right ice machine for your specific application.